When it comes to moving, cats are more stressful to deal with compared to dogs. Why? Cats get too comfortable in their environment, and moving signals a change. We all know a difference in whatever form is uncomfortable for some if not all. Change brings with it fear and anxiety in cats just as in humans. If they could have it any other way, cats would never move where they’re comfortable and settled in. But at one point or another, you have to move or relocate, and you most definitely won’t leave your cat behind. As a cat owner, what you want to do is make the transition as less stressful as possible for both you and the cat. But mostly the cat. Making the transition less stressful prevents issues like escape attempts, aggression, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, fear-based house soiling.
Moving for a cat has got three significant aspects to fully consider. Before the move, during the move, after the move.
Before the Move
Once you start packing boxes and stuff, your cat knows something is up. Preparing for the move begins way before the moving truck arrives, so the plan is to ease the tension before the actual moving day comes.
- Get him carrier comfortable
Your cat will obviously be traveling in his carrier, so it is wise to get him accustomed to the carrier. Some cats do not like the carrier, and most pet owners notice this on visits to the vet. Days before the big move, leave the carrier out in the car with the doors open or in a room, most preferably the bedroom. Here you’ll be allowing him to explore. A much better incentive would be to leave toys and treats around the carrier. This will definitely get the cat’s attention, and he’ll move towards it. With time start going a little further by stashing the treats right inside the carrier for the cat to follow and find. This encourages the cat to like the carrier, but psychologically, the cat will naturally associate the carrier with treats and toys making it easy for him to climb into the carrier come moving day. Alternatively, you can start feeding your cat close to the carrier. Pro tip! Remember to line the carrier with comfortable beddings for the cat to comfortably rest whenever
- Keep a Routine
Cats are routine creatures, and you can say this is because they have zero affinity to change. You’ll want to maintain his schedule i.e., mealtime, play, attention, naps, etc. It would not be a wise time to introduce a new habit during this time. The moving day nonetheless. Stop for a few minutes’ playtime, mealtime, and continuously check on him during the travel. A feeder with a timer already established with the cat will make it easier for you while on the move.
- Cats and Card Boxes
Cats love card boxes. They are excited to play with, hide in, scratch at, and know your furry friend is into all that. So, let the card boxes out for him to play with. Move them out before packing a couple of weeks before the actual moving day so they can get used to their presence. Launching them out on a moving day will cause a lot of anxiety in the cat, as he will quickly notice the chaos and movements that come with moving boxes out. If your cat gets anxious and nervous when you’re packing, it is best to leave him confined in a closed room, so he only comes out when you’re done packing. He’d probably be happier in a private place away from the chaos with a few treats and toys. If yours is a cheeky feline and you think he might hide in one of the many card boxes floating around, it would be best to leave him in a closed room.
- Talk to your Vet
Before making a move, it is advisable to talk to your vet. Some cats are more anxious and nervous than others. Talk to your vet before your progress so you can both find ways to mitigate the anxiety. Your vet might prescribe a mild sedative or anti-anxiety medications to calm and chill out during the move. Your vet might propose a range of products aside from medication, e.g., calming aids, supplements, and prescription diets.
During the Move
Finally, the big day has arrived. For your peace of mind, I would help to know that the day will be an anxiety-ridden day for your feline friend. The faster you accept that, the easier it will be for you to exercise patience and that much-needed companionship to your cat. Remember, your main priority on this day is to keep your cat safe and secure. Pro tip: Remember to keep the car well ventilated
- Reduce the Portions
Anxiety reigns high even in the stomach, and the last thing you want on your travel is your cat falling sick. It is recommended to feed him smaller meals compared to his usual portions. According to Dr. Kathryn Dench, an experience veterinary with over 10 years’ experience when your cat’s stomach making noises, it is necessary to pay attention to your cat’s condition and be ready to take them to the vet clinic if their stomach noises are more frequent than usual. Also, this reduces the chances of your cat throwing up or meowing in pain due to stomach upset. Some cats are car –sick, and this is also beneficial to them.
- Keep the Cat Contained
As earlier stated, moving comes with a lot of movements, chaos, uneasiness, loud sounds, etc. Your cat is obviously very anxious now and probably wants out. The safest option would be to keep in contained in one room before the loading guys are done loading the truck. There is no need to keep him in the carrier way ahead of the move. Clear out one room completely and leave in there with a few toys and treats while you are loading. Being around all the loading and carrying can cause the cat to bolt away, and we’re pretty sure finding a missing cat wasn’t exactly on your to-do list on the busiest day.
- Carrier Time
Now you’ve loaded the cat into the carrier. The best time is right before you’re ready to hit the road. Your cat may start meowing uncontrollably, asking to be let out. The temptation is high but resists the urge to let him out. Actually, be calm, and the cat will be quiet too as they’re brilliant and quickly pick up on body language. Only let him out of the carrier when you’ve arrived at your new home, and even then, it still needs time to adjust to the new surroundings. Please leave it in the carrier or a closed room until you’re done unloading and unpacking. Pretty much the same process as moving out only this time you’re moving in. Always keep an eye out for him to notice any discomfort or unusual behavior. Understand that this is an anxious period for your cat, but he’ll be back to his old self in a few days. If she’s drama queen coping with a carrier, try these great tips and use it during the moving time or in later days.
After the move
The hard part is done. All you need to do is ensure your cat eases seamlessly into his new home.
- Deep Clean
Ensure you clean the house thoroughly to get rid of any foreign scents like previous animals living there. Apparently, cats pick up on this, too, due to their compelling sense of smell. Interestingly, cats pick up on these animals’ stress, which can increase their own. So, get your Clorox out and shampoo out for that deep clean.
- Keeping up with your cat’s stress
How easily is your cat adapting to the new home? You can tell when your cat is stressed, and this only means you are gradually easing him into the new space. Spend a lot of time with him doing normal activities with him, He set up a permanent litter box for him all this a room we like to call a home base. Soon he’ll be ready to explore other places and outside.
Cats can easily find their way back home, and you want to avoid this, so making his transition to the new home might take some time and effort, but you’ll be glad you did. Remember to always keep an eye on him and consult your vet when necessary. Welcome to your new home and new life.